In an effort to emphasize investing early with founders and entrepreneurs at companies across various sectors and supporting them through their life cycle, Cayuga Venture Fund is launching a new fund with a target size of $100 million.
The Tompkins County-based Cayuga Venture Fund will rely on the region’s highly educated population and higher education institutions so that the new fund — Cayuga Venture Fund VI — will capitalize on the firm’s position as the area’s largest and most active venture capital investor.
Over the past 10 years, the firm has been a catalyst for the accelerating startup activity in upstate New York.
Partners at Cayuga Venture Fund said the organization’s strong ties to Cornell University have provided access to subject matter experts and a unique perspective on various sets of technology. Cayuga Venture Fund VI also will seek to use its connections with Cornell to assist startups being produced at Cornell Tech in New York City as they search for investment partners and capital.
“With over 20 years of venture investing behind us, we are excited to take our fund to a major milestone in terms of size and scope,” said Phil Proujansky, founding partner at Cayuga Venture Fund. “Startup activity in our area is exploding, and we want to position CVF to be a key participant in the ecosystem.”
In addition to setting a $100 million target, Cayuga Venture Fund also announced A.J. Edwards, the former chief investment officer for Cornell’s $7 billion endowment, will join the firm as a partner once Cayuga Venture Fund VI is closed.
Edwards has 25 years of institutional investing experience, which will broaden CVF’s investor exposure, the press release stated. Edwards will work full time with Cayuga Venture Fund and will be active in all aspects of the firm, including fund raising, deal vetting and portfolio company management.
He is a chartered financial analyst charter holder and teaches practitioners courses in asset management and investments at Cornell to both undergraduates and graduates, according to a press release.
Edwards also is a trustee and member of the Investment Advisory Committee for the Sciencenter in Ithaca.
“I am very excited to join CVF,” Edwards said. “Having known Phil, Zach and Jennifer (Tegan) for the last ten years, it was an easy decision to make. CVF has a great base of dedicated, long-term LPs, and we look forward to raising and successfully deploying CVF VI, generating strong returns and contributing to the economic development of the region.”
“The target size of CVF VI and the building out of our investment team are critical inflection points for CVF,” said Zach Shulman, a partner at the firm. “We are truly dedicated to what we do – growing startups from the ground up with significant investment, hands on partnerships with management teams and successfully executing exits for our investors. We are delighted that A.J. is joining and look forward to a long and productive partnership.”